"I want to see more outer leg on that horse, Tori!" Josie called from the middle of the ring as she pointedly watched her student to see if the adjustment was made. As was usual, the advanced student followed through; Aspen rounded out beautifully and the corner was taken at an almost professional level for both horse and rider.
Eryss sighed heavily, shifting her weight awkwardly as she rested herself against the arena's outer fence. It had been two weeks since her release from the hospital, and though she was greatly on the mend, her leg was still in a cast. It wasn't scheduled to be removed from the cast for at least another week, which meant she wasn't allowed to ride for at least two more weeks total. That was if she could even talk her mother into a ride so soon after being removed from her cast. And even then, she already knew that her first time back in the saddle would be on the old school master Joe and her mom had bought for beginners; not Aspen. Never Aspen. She sighed again, putting her chin in her hand.
"Hey Eryss!" A voice bubbled behind her, giving her a mild scare. Instantly she smiled, turning to face Claire and give her a hug.
"You're here for another lesson?" Eryss asked, almost too seriously. Claire had never been one to take a real interest in formal riding education. Claire only nodded.
"Yeah, your mom drives a hard bargain; who can argue with the first two lessons being free?! Besides, after your stunt riding I want to make sure I know how-- not to say that you're a bad rider! I just, the importance of knowing what you're doing and... oh god I should just shut up, I'm sorry Eryss. That was really insensitive of me..." Claire stammered, rubbing her neck uneasily.
"No it's ok, and it's really smart of you. What I did was stupid and.. it's- a good thing for others to learn from. So I'm glad you're in lessons. So, who're you riding today?" Eryss responded, offering a weak smile.
"Betty, the old Chestnut. I guess my trot needs some work and Betty has a good one to learn on. Do you wanna watch? I'm lessoning with Joe today."
"Nah." Eryss said, casting a sidelong glance over to Aspen, "I'm kind of busy day-dreaming."
"Well, Tori's lesson ends right around the time mine starts.. so if you wanna torture yourself, that's ok. But my offer still stands. I could always use help grooming the old bitty too. I was told by one of the other students that she gets really dirty."
"Thanks." Eryss sighed, watching Claire leave briefly before turning back to watch Aspen. In the days after Eryss waking up, Josie had seriously put the pedal to the metal in getting Joe's lesson business up and running. She had printed up flyers advertising two free lessons with experienced professionals; contacted one of Clark's old friends, Chris, the guy who used to send them horses for training. She asked to purchase back one of the steady-eddy school-master type horses that Clark had trained for him. Chris happily obliged, even giving Clark a fantastic discount.
In just a matter of weeks, the Waters' lesson barns were back up and running; they had 7 lesson horses, counting Aspen (on some days) but not Regret. Four instructors, Peter, Joe, Clark and Josie. Two regular students in Tori and another young girl, Claire was on her second lesson and Josie said more people were getting interested by the day. "The thing is," Josie had said one joyful evening over the dinner table, "we're like a half hour on a good day out of the way. We have to provide product that not only beats the lesson barns in the city at a good price, but makes a long trek out here, worth it. Joe your place is great facility wise...it was just lacking in having enough trainers out here to really give it "oomph," you know?"
Eryss had tried a couple times to get Josie to agree to letting her ride Aspen right off the bat, but the truth was he was still healing as much as she was; the vet had cleared him for non-strenuous riding with someone advanced enough not to push him too fast too soon. That knocked Eryss out of the saddle for a while, not to mention she had had to agree to ride the school-master at first to start from "scratch" on her seat and basics, as part of her punishment for not listening in the first place, but also in order for her to work up the confidence to even get back in the saddle again.
She sighed, watching the post-lesson discussion between Josie and Tori before Tori was cleared for the walk-out. Josie spotted Eryss and waved as she walked toward her daughter.
"Hey mom... nice lesson on Aspen.."
"Yeah, Tori is doing wonders with him. For only riding a half-hour before moving on to our actual lesson they're both improving so much. And with a few days off between each ride!"
"So, how's the homework coming?"
"Just a few assignments left in math and science and I'm all caught up... probably going to finish the catch-up before I'm even out of this cast."
"Well that's great! Maybe within the month you'll be back in the saddle."
"Yeah..." Eryss sighed, looking longingly at Aspen. "I just wish it was Aspen's saddle I'll be back in."
"Eryss, we've discussed this. Numerous times. I want you on Riddick when we get you back in the saddle. You'll have a lot to learn, and a lot to work through, before I can trust you with Aspen. Or are we going to have a repeat of the accident?"
"No no no!" Eryss jumped, waving her arms defensively in front of herself. "I, I just wanted to ride Aspen... but I don't want to do that again."
"I know, but Eryss, you did a lot of damage that day. Not just to yourself, but to Aspen, my trust in you, your grandparent's trust in you. I need you to listen to me, and grandpa, and I need you to trust us. Both of us have agreed that you need to start smaller and in the long term it won't be such a long time before you're on Aspen again." Josie said, sighing, as Tori approached the two of them.
"Hey Ms. J! Aspen's pretty cool now, not that it was a hard ride or anything, I'm going to go ahead and grab Crystal. You still want Eryss to groom him down?"
Eryss perked up as she listened to their conversation, grabbing her crutches and hobbling over to the barn as fast as she could. "I'll meet you at the grooming area!" She shouted over her shoulder to the laughing women behind her. She might not be able to ride Aspen for a while, but at least she could groom him!
So this has been sitting in word for a few weeks, I meant to post it on July 1st but to say that this month has been dramatically stressful would be an understatement. I needed to de-stress and finishing the bit/writing creatively was the perfect outlet. I'm off to pack for moving (sigh.) and clean. (sigh.)
I hope you enjoy this addition!
The path is different for you and me.. but the journey begins in the heart.
Last edited by NeryLibra; 07-16-2014 at 11:48 PM.